Drugmakers Start Reaching For The Painkillers

Last fall, Rolf Kramer's plans for an initial public offering were looking good. As chief executive officer at Frankfurt-based drugmaker Asta Medica, Kramer had managed to quintuple profits over the past five years as sales doubled to $685 million. But this year, Germany made draconian cuts in health-care spending, and Kramer's world changed overnight. In the first half, Asta's sales went flat, and Kramer had to put his public offering on ice. Instead of doing road shows to woo investors, he's slashing 10% of his work force and slamming a lid on research and development.

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